Kristen (from left), Michael, and Kathryn Saba are third-generation Cougar graduates.

Triplets Graduate with Triple Majors in Entrepreneurship, Finance, and Management

By Becky Kramer

Kathryn (from left), Kristen, and Michael Saba at the congratulatory billboard in Vancouver, Washington. (Photo courtesy of the Saba family)
For Kathryn, Kristen, and Michael Saba, three is a powerful denominator.

The triplets from Brush Prairie, Washington, graduated in May from WSU Vancouver with triple majors in entrepreneurship, finance, and management, becoming the third generation of Cougar alumni in their family.

“I don’t know if there have ever been triplets who triple majored and graduated from the same university,” says their dad, Raymond Saba. “If there are others, I’m sure it’s very rare.”

But the Saba triplets’ accomplishment, at least, is locally famous. To congratulate them, Raymond purchased advertising on a billboard at a busy intersection in Vancouver. There’s plenty of laughter when the family describes how he unveiled the surprise.

“I didn’t know about it, either,” says Karen Saba (’78 Int. Des.), their mom. “We had gone out for dinner that night. He said he had to do something, and he started driving around in circles. I thought he was lost.”

“We finally looked up,” says Kristen. There was the billboard featuring a picture of the triplets in their caps and gowns with a congratulatory message.

For the siblings, it was a fitting way to commemorate their educational journey, which included a pandemic, but was also marked by years of cooperation, loyalty, and joint study sessions.

“There’s a saying, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together,’” says Kathryn. “That’s kind of our motto.”

Motivated and entrepreneurial

The triplets followed their mom, aunts, and grandmother to WSU. At WSU Vancouver, they earned a reputation as motivated students who scheduled their classes together.

“They work as a team,” says Donna Paul, associate professor of finance and academic director for the Carson College of Business at WSU Vancouver. “They come across as a strong unit, but also as distinct personalities.”

Kristen has a creative side. Two years ago, she founded Saba Productions, which makes videos for product marketing and company branding. Michael is drawn to finance and analytical questions. Kathryn is the organizer, with strong administrative and people skills.

“She’s the one who would remind us that our homework was due, or that we needed to be studying for the test next week,” Kristen says.

“We get asked a lot about how we get along,” Kathryn says. Their camaraderie is genuine, the siblings say. “We love working together,” Michael adds.

The Saba siblings participated in Washington’s Running Start program, taking community college classes while they were in high school. By the time they started at WSU Vancouver, they had already earned associates degrees in business.

Future business plans

Entrepreneurship was a natural major for the triplets, who can picture themselves running a company together someday. They challenged themselves with additional majors in management and finance and a communications minor. Scholarships from WSU and outside sources helped the siblings extend their time in college and graduate debt-free.

Working with local companies as business consultants was a highlight of the Sabas’ Carson College experience. Through WSU Vancouver’s Business Growth Mentor and Analysis Program (MAP), they were each paired with a different company.

“You work with a team where everyone has a specialty,” Kristen says. “You are given a business mentor who really knows their stuff, and then you put your skills to the test to help the company grow and succeed.”

Kathryn’s team worked with a local winery. They won the 2020 Best Team Award for their project, which included a step-by-step implementation report for upgrading the wine tasting room, a complete brand design, and budget projections and timeline for completing the recommendations.

Michael’s team researched new software for a contractors’ association, and Kristen’s team worked on advertising, promotion, and lease options for a dance studio.

Assistant Professor Alex Kier’s entrepreneurship class was also a favorite.

“It took us through everything we needed to know to start a business,” Michael says. “He even had us create an elevator pitch, so if we were meeting with prospective investors, we would be able to pitch to them.”

After years of being “the Saba triplets,” the siblings’ paths are starting to diverge. Michael completed an internship at Boeing and was offered a spot in the company’s early career business skills rotation program.

Kristen is interested in expanding Saba Productions. And Kathryn is scouting out ways to use her administrative and people skills.

“We’re going to explore and go our own ways for now,” Kathryn says. “But we definitely want to start a business together in the future.”